Posts Tagged ‘Indian Cricket Team’


Sachin Tendulkar turned 40 yesterday, and as I could not write down a post yesterday, I believe it is never too late to wish the legend. So I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a very happy birthday and also thank him for all the glorious days of cricket I got to witness when he played for India, whether be it in tests or in ODIs. And his records in both the formats speak for themselves.

It is really unfortunate that he announced his retirement from ODI cricket in December, or else he could have become the first Indian to do so. Anyways, he missed on the longest ODI career due to his retirement, and since he did not play an ODI since Feb 2012, that would be considered as his last day of ODI career irrespective of the fact that he announced his retirement from the format in December. Though I would have loved to have watch him play against Pakistan in that series, and it could have been a fitting end to a career and against a team with which it all started in 1989. Though now he would seventh Indian player to play test cricket in his 40s, and the first to do it after since 1960, but this is subject to the fact that he should play a test match after this. Hopefully he would play against South Africa towards the end of the year. The most precious memory of his birthday I have is of 15 years back in 1998, when he turned 25, and when he smashed the Australian bowlers all around the ground to win the series. Yesterday he could not play a big innings against Kolkata Knight Riders, and was dismissed cheaply, but yes his team did not let him down and spoil his birthday party.

Anyways, I would want to wish him a very happy birthday again, and I hope to see him soon playing the test matches, and playing it for a few more years.

Sachin_turns_40

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Rahul Dravid turns 40 today!

Posted: January 11, 2013 by Shishir Gupta in Cricket, India
Tags: , , , , ,

Rahul Dravid turns 40 today, and here I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a very happy birthday and also thank him for all the glorious days of cricket I got to witness when he played for India, whether be it in tests or in ODIs. Although he was always branded as a test player, his cotribution to ODI cricket has not been any less.

With whatever has happened in the test series against England at home last month, all I can say is I really missed him on the field. I really felt we needed him on the field especially since the tracks in Mumbai, Kolkata, and in Nagpur suited his style of batting more than that of the stylish strokeplayers we have in the current side. He definitely would have been an asset (as he has been throughout his career), in that series despite his growing age.

Also, it is unfortunate that he announced his retirement 10 months back as  had he been playing today, he could have mastered another record of becoming the seventh Indian player to play test cricket in his 40s, and the first to do it after since 196o. Unfortunately the record would have to wait for some more time.

Anyways, I would want to wish him a very happy birthday again, and I hope to see him, again with the Indian team (maybe as a coach) sometime soon.


It has been a few days now, since Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from the ODI format. I have always wanted to write on that, but have been very emotional since then that I have not really been able to write something substantial enough to post here. I would surely do that in the coming days. Also, I would really like to add that I am very disappointed with the manner he quit the game. It would have been great had he played against Pakistan and then announced his retirement. he truely deserved a send off from the field. And with retiring against Pakistan, it would just have been special as he made his debut against the same opponent 23 years ago. But now is ODI innings is over and I all I can hope is that he does not hang up his Test boots soon. Also, as a huge fan all I can hope is that BCCI can convince Sachin to play at least 1 ODI against Pakistan to get a fitting farewell to an ODI career. But I guess that this would only be a dream.

In the meanwhile, as I have written that I wanted to write a lot on Sachin but just could not pen done anythig substantial enough, I came accross this article written by Harsha Bhogle as a letter to Sachin Tendulkar. This is a very touching one, and does give a great tribute to the genuis so I thought of putting that here till the time I can write a tribute to the great man. Here is the original article:

Dear Sachin,

I guess this means the countdown has begun. It couldn’t have been easy for you since cricket has been your life, your solitary love outside of family. I know there are cars and music and seafood, and, as I recently realised, the odd glass of wine, but a bat was what you were meant to hold, and it is with one that you mesmerised a nation and a sport. I wondered if you could have given up Test cricket and stayed on in one-day internationals – until you told me it takes a lot out of you. And you were never one to give less than a 100%.

I guess your body finally won. It had been giving you signals – that permanently cracked bone in your toe, the struggle to get out of bed when the back played up, that elbow… ah, that’s a different story altogether, but you always overruled it. It must have sulked but you forced more out of it than anyone else. It was bound to serve notice one day. I mean, you will be 40 soon; people get reading glasses at 40.

But you leave behind an aspect of cricket that you defined. There will be comparisons with other greats in Test cricket, and you will be a chapter in its history, but with the one-dayer, you are its history, in a sense, certainly for India, where you played in more than half the games (463 out of 809). The team had played a mere 165 games before you started, and it is a measure of the impact you had that there were only 17 centuries scored by then. India made a century every 9.70 games. After you started, that number comes down dramatically, to one every 3.52 games. And since that first century, in Colombo, it comes down even further, to one every 3.23 games. To think that you started with two ducks.

Now, of course, the kids keep notching up the hundreds. This young fellow Kohli, for example, who plays with your intensity but whose vocabulary I guess you would struggle with!

Looking back, I can’t imagine it took you 78 games to hit a hundred. But then you were floating around in the batting order, spending too much time not being in the thick of it all. I can see why you were so desperate to open the batting in Auckland that day in 1994. Why, when you told me the story of how you pleaded with Ajit Wadekar and Mohammad Azharuddin to give you one opportunity, you sounded like you were still pleading. But I guess you had a history of wanting to be in battle, like that misty night in Kolkata (it was Calcutta in your youth, wasn’t it?) when you took the ball in the 50th over with just six to defend and delivered a win.

It seems impossible to imagine that you averaged a mere 30.84 till that day in Auckland, and that you dawdled along at a strike rate of 74. Since then you averaged 47 at a strike rate of 87. It was a marriage meant to be.

I remember that afternoon in Colombo when you approached your first hundred. It had to be Australia, and you were in sublime touch, and you so wanted that first one. You made 110 in 130 balls, but oh, you agonised over those last 15 runs before you got to the century. In a sense, it was like that with the last one too, wasn’t it? It was in those moments only that you were a bit like us, that you wanted something so badly, you let it affect your game. But between those two, you were always so much fun, in that belligerent, ruthless, adolescent first phase, in your second, rather more mature and calculated, existence, and of course in that joyous last. What fun that was. The 163 in Christchurch, the 175 in Hyderabad, that 200 in Gwalior, the 120 in Bangalore, the 111 in Nagpur. If it hadn’t been for that devilish 100th, would you have continued playing the same way? That 100th hurt you, didn’t it, as it did all of us, and I guess we didn’t help you by not letting you forget. When the big occasion came, you always played it like another game, even though you knew it was a big day, like those two classics in CB Series finals in 2008, or, of course, those unbelievable nights in Sharjah in 1998. But this 100th took away four or five more.

Somebody said to me he didn’t want you to quit because it would mean his childhood was over. It isn’t just them. Just as the child in you never grew up, so too did many grizzled old men become children when they saw you in blue 

I know how disappointed you were after the 2007 World Cup. You weren’t batting in your favourite position, you were unhappy (if you could ever be unhappy in the game that you revered and tended to like a servant), and without quite saying it, you hinted at the fact that you might have had enough. But the dawn always follows the darkest hour.

After the age of 34, in a young man’s game, you averaged 48.36. Even by the standards you set yourself, that was unbelievable (in spite of all those nineties, when, almost inevitably, I seemed to be on air). And most of those came without your regular partner. While Sourav was around, you averaged almost 50 at a strike rate of 89. The mind still lingers on the time the two of you would come out at the start of a one-day international. (I watched one of those partnerships the other night and it seemed only the commercial breaks could stop you two.)

By now you were playing the lap shots more than the booming drives down the ground. It puzzled me and made many nervous. “I want to play down the ground too,” you told me, “that is why I am playing the paddle shot. As soon as they put a fielder there, I’ll play the big drive.” You were playing with the field the way your great friend Brian Lara did when he was on top of his game.

But beyond the numbers some memories remain. I couldn’t believe how you went after Glenn McGrath in Nairobi. I must have watched that clip 50 times but understood it more when you told me you wanted to get him angry, that on a moist wicket his line-and-length routine would have won them the game. That pull shot is as fresh in the memory as that first cover drive off Wasim Akram in the 2003 World Cup when you took strike because you thought the great man would have too many tricks for Sehwag.

I remember that World Cup well, especially an unheralded innings in Harare that helped beat a sticky Zimbabwe and put the campaign back on track. And your decision to keep the Player of the Tournament award in your restaurant because you would much rather have had the smaller winner’s medal. It told me how much that meant to you, and when I saw the tears on your face that night in Mumbai, I instantly knew why.

I had only once seen you in tears and that was at a World Cup too. You were practising in Bristol. You were just back from your father’s funeral and were wearing the most peculiar dark glasses. There was none of the usual style to them; they were big enough to cover half your face. You agreed to my request to speak to the media and briefly took them off while you were arranging your kit bag. I was taken aback to see your eyes swollen. You must have been in another world but you were courteous as ever. It was only Kenya the next day, but I can see why you rate that hundred.

There are so many more. I was only a young cricket writer when I started watching you play, so there will be many. That is also why so many of us will miss you. Somebody said to me he didn’t want you to quit because it would mean his childhood was over. It isn’t just them. Just as the child in you never grew up, so too did many grizzled old men become children when they saw you in blue. You were a great habit, Sachin.

So you are done with the blue then. But the whites remain. That is our first image of you – the curly hair, the confident look, the front foot stride… all in white. I hope you have fun in them. You don’t need to try too hard to prove a point to us because when you have fun we do too.

Cheers, you did well for us. And you gave life and strength to our game.

 I believe that this is really a fitting tribute for the great man, and since this comes from Harsha Bhogle, it is very special.


It is time now for VVS Laxman to step down and way for the youngsters who have been trying to get a chance to make it to the playing XI in the test matches. This retirement has come 5 months after Rahul Dravid announced his retirement. I believe this is what the media pressure can do to you, by making you take such a strong step. To be honest 5 months back I was really shocked on hearing Dravid’s retirement, as at that time I was probably expecting Laxman to take that step as media was more harsh on him after the failures in England and Australia. But after Dravid exiting the show no one would have expected Laxman to retire too. In fact now with Dravid gone, everyone was expecting Tendulkar and Laxman to help the youngsters like Raina, Kohli, Rohit Sharma and mentor them to help them perform consistently at the top level. So now this news of his retirement is a shock to the complete nation and not just me. This shock only increases as Laxman was not dropped from the side, and was selected for the upcoming New Zealand series. And his sudden announcement will surely make many people vary to know why this actually happened. To be honest I would have loved to watch Laxman to play one last time at least and why just him, even Dravid, as given that they really are legends of Indian cricket they definitely deserved a better farewell. All I can say, is that this loss will have to bared entirely by Indian cricket. As now on 23rd when the Indian team walks out onto the field, they will do so without the services of Laxman and Dravid (not just the two of the finest batsman India has had in recent times but also the two highest catch takers in the history of Indian cricket).

Here is the complete article covering his retirement from the ESPNcricinfo site:

VVS Laxman has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, ending a 16-year career that will be remembered for several innings of extreme grace under extreme pressure. Laxman, 37, had been included in India’s squad for the home series against New Zealand starting next week but said he took the decision over the past few days.

He announced his decision at an emotional press conference in his hometown Hyderabad, which he will represent in the Ranji Trophy this coming season.

“I would like to announce my retirement from international cricket with immediate effect,” Laxman said. “I have always kept my country’s success and need ahead of my personal aspirations. And while I would love contributing to the team’s success, especially against England and Australia, I think this is the right time to give the youngsters a chance in home conditions ahead of international assignments coming up next year.” The chance he said, could be, “no better than against an inexperienced New Zealand bowling attack.”

Dressed in a sharp, formal suit, Laxman made his announcement in a conference room at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, in Uppal to the north east of his home city, Hyderabad. Several members of family, including his parents, wife and two children, were present at the function. Shortly into his speech the lights of the conference room went out, and Laxman grinned, an otherwise sombre occasion turning informal.

He admitted that this sudden retirement had been “a tough decision to take,” adding, “I have always listened to my inner conscience. I have always done that right through my career. There was a lot of debate in the last four days. I felt this is the right time to move on.”

The decision to quit had been arrived at only on Saturday morning after Laxman admitted he had toyed over the idea over the last few days. “Till last night I was unable to make up my mind, but in the end I listened to my inner voice and arrived at my decision to retire. I informed the chairman of selectors (Krishnamachari Srikkanth) this morning that I would not continue playing for India. I also spoke to many of my team-mates, they were surprised that I was retiring before the series. It was all very emotional.”

Laxman read out a prepared statement in which he thanked everyone who had been part “of my journey” in which he said he had been able to “live his dream” and felt “blessed that I had got the opportunity. Very few get the opportunity to play for their country.” His voice shook only briefly in the early part of his statement and his wife Sailaja was seen wiping away tears. Laxman gathered himself, finished his statement and took questions about quitting only five days before the first Test against New Zealand in Hyderabad. He said that while his family had waned him to play in the Hyderabad Test but he had made up his mind in what had been the “toughest three or four days of my career.”

In a touch of the dramatic after he had read out his prepared statement, the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) G Vinod appealed to Laxman to change his mind about retirement and agree to play in the Hyderabad Test versus New Zealand next week. In response, Laxman only smiled.

He did admit however that until a few weeks ago, he had not thought about quitting the game before the Test series versus New Zealand. It was the “internal debate” over the last few days that led to this decision. It was not however, made in haste or with regret. “I have always read and listened to a lot of sportspersons who have excelled in their careers and they have all said that at the end of their career, there will suddenly be a feeling, a thought within you that a day has come that you have to leave the sport and move on. It is what I have experienced in the last four or five days… I feel really satisfied that I have left the game with the same ideals that I have played the game.”

When asked whether his decision to retire had come about largely due to adverse criticism following two poor series in England and Australia, Laxman said, “Those comments have definitely not allowed (sic) me to make the decision.” The Australia series he said was, “very disappointing. No cricketer would want to lose in such a fashion.”

Responding to being criticised, Laxman said, “Right from the start of my career there have been a lot of people who wrote negative about me and there have been more people who have been well wishers and talked positive about me. In a country like India, where cricket is more like a religion than a sport, if you try to satisfy each and every one, it’s next to impossible.”

Laxman represented India in 134 Tests, scoring 8781 runs at 45.97. He made his debut against South Africa in the home series in 1996 but shot to the limelight with a knock of 167 against Australia in Sydney in 2000. Perhaps his greatest achievement was his 281 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2001, against Australia, then the highest score by an Indian batsman in Tests. Part of a record stand with Rahul Dravid, it set up a stunning victory for the home team after following on and ended Australia’s consecutive 16-match winning streak.

Laxman last played an ODI in 2006 but had, by then, become a regular in the Test side and played his 100th Test in 2008, against Australia in Nagpur. Laxman made six of his 17 Test centuries against Australia, with an average of 49.67 in 29 Tests and success both home and away.

His performances in the eight Tests during India’s disastrous tours of England and Australia in 2011 were disappointing. He averaged 22.75 in England and 19.38 in Australia, prompting some to call for him being dropped from the side with a long-term view of grooming a youngster to take his place.

 


Well this analysis was published on the ESPNCricinfo site immediately after Rahul dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic cricket on Friday 9th March, 2012. So surely this analysis is not done by me, and also since it comes from cricinfo it can be taken to be very much accurate, legitimate, and correct.

This article was published under the heading: India’s overseas hero, and much more, with definitely sums up Dravid’s career correctly.

Here is the complete article:

Rahul Dravid scored more runs in India’s overseas wins than any other batsman, and his contributions go beyond his aggregate and hundreds.

The stat that perhaps best sums up Rahul Dravid is not the runs he made or the the hundreds he notched up, but the number of balls he consumed over a Test career that spanned fifteen-and-a-half years. In 286 Test innings, Dravid played 31,258 balls. Given that no other batsman has faced more than 29,000 deliveries, it puts into perspective the amount of hard work and sheer effort that went into scoring those 13,288 runs. There were other batsmen who had more natural talent, and were more elegant, aggressive, and exciting to watch. In terms of dedication to craft and working on achieving perfection, though, Dravid ranks second to none. That dedication fetched him just rewards, ensuring he scored runs in every country he played in, and finished his Test career as the second-highest run-getter, next only to Sachin Tendulkar.

From the time he scored 95 in his first Test innings against England at Lord’s, it was clear he was an exceptional batting talent, but even so, not many would have envisaged a career that spanned 164 Test matches and 344 one-day internationals. His maiden Test century, a sparkling 148 against a tough South African attack in Johannesburg, further confirmed his class, and from there it has been a journey of several highs, interspersed with – as every career must have – its share of lows.

For most of his career, consistency was one of Dravid’s fortes. For instance, of the first ten series that he played in (excluding one-off Tests), he averaged more than 40 in seven of them. His best phase, though, was the four-year period from the middle of 2002 to 2006, a stunning spell when he scored heavily pretty much everywhere he went: in 16 series during this period, 13 times he averaged more than 49, and nine times over 75. More importantly, he scored those runs in tough batting conditions, and in overseas Tests that led to wins abroad, a phenomenon that till then had been pretty rare in Indian cricket. During this period, his overseas average was an exceptional 77.07.

A slump followed, almost inevitably, from the middle of 2006 to 2008, when he struggled in South Africa, England, Australia and Sri Lanka. There was talk, inevitably again, that Dravid should quit Tests, but in his last three years he came out of that slump pretty well. He was among the runs in New Zealand, West Indies, and – in what must rank as arguably his best series, given the lack of batting support – in England in 2011, when he fought the England pace attack almost singlehandedly, scoring 461 runs at 76.83. His last series was admittedly a huge disappointment, but despite that he averaged more than 52 in his last 33 Tests.

Rahul Dravid’s Test career

Period

Tests

Runs

Average

100s/ 50s

Home ave

Away ave

Till Mar 31, 2002

55

4329

50.92

9/ 24

48.91

53.20

Apr 2002 – Jul 2006

49

4720

68.40

14/ 22

55.71

77.07

Aug 2006 – Dec 2008

27

1460

31.06

3/ 7

31.60

30.66

Jan 2009 onwards

33

2779

52.43

10/ 10

75.31

42.54

Career

164

13,288

52.31

36/ 63

51.35

53.03

At home overseas
As mentioned above, perhaps the most significant aspect of Dravid’s Test career was that the runs he scored contributed significantly to India’s wins, mainly overseas. Overall, Dravid scored 5131 runs in Test wins, next only to Tendulkar’s 5594. However, in overseas Test wins, he was often India’s main man, even more than Tendulkar. India won 15 Tests abroad during Dravid’s career (excluding matches in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe), and in those games he scored 1577 runs at 65.70 – both aggregate and average is higher than Tendulkar’s.

Quite fittingly, Dravid was Man of the Match in the last overseas Test win that India achieved during his career – his second-innings 112 and match tally of 152 were largely instrumental in India winning a low-scoring game in Kingston by 63 runs. In all, eight of his 11 Man-of-the-Match awards came in overseas Tests, and five in overseas wins, including unforgettable performances at Headingley (2002), Adelaide (2003), Rawalpindi (2004) and Kingston (2006). Tendulkar won only five out of his 14 Man-of-the-Match awards overseas, and only one in a win (excluding Bangladesh). In fact, no Indian has won as many match awards overseas as Dravid has. (Remember, though, that this award wasn’t always around during the days of some of India’s earlier players.)

As well as helping India win overseas, Dravid also scored mountains of runs in draws overseas, averaging more than 75 in those matches, with ten centuries in 32 Tests. Two of those hundreds were in the drawn game in Hamilton in 1999, one of two times he scored a century in each innings of a Test. In fact, he is one of only three Indians to achieve this feat – Sunil Gavaskar and Vijay Hazare are the others.

Indian batsmen in overseas* Tests, in wins and draws

Batsman

Won Tests

Runs

Average

100s/ 50s

Drawn Tests

Runs

Average

100s/ 50s

Rahul Dravid

15

1577

65.70

4/ 7

32

3083

75.19

10/ 17

Sachin Tendulkar

13

1219

60.95

5/ 3

42

3484

71.10

11/ 18

VVS Laxman

14

1111

52.90

2/ 8

26

1931

58.51

4/ 14

Virender Sehwag

11

965

56.76

3/ 1

15

1386

57.75

4/ 4

Sunil Gavaskar

9

756

50.40

3/ 3

30

2697

64.21

9/ 12

Sourav Ganguly

9

617

51.41

1/ 5

21

1601

59.29

5/ 8

Gundappa Viswanath

6

533

53.30

2/ 3

19

1040

40.00

2/ 8

* Excluding Tests in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe

No. 1 at No. 3
India didn’t always have the luxury of solid opening pairs through his career, which made Dravid’s presence at No. 3 all the more important. He is the only batsman at the moment to have scored more than 10,000 runs at that position, and he did it at a superb average too, scoring close to 53 runs per dismissal. At No. 3, though, his home record was better – he averaged 54.81 in India, and 51.35 abroad. In overseas Tests excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, his average at No. 3 fell marginally below 50, to 48.75.

Highest run-getters at No. 3 in Tests

Batsman

Innings

Runs

Average

100s/ 50s

Rahul Dravid

219

10,524

52.88

28/ 50

Ricky Ponting

196

9904

56.27

32/ 43

Kumar Sangakkara

158

8702

58.79

27/ 36

Don Bradman

56

5078

103.63

20/ 10

Richie Richardson

107

4711

47.11

14/ 21

Rohan Kanhai

90

4689

52.68

13/ 20

David Boon

111

4412

45.58

13/ 20

Ian Chappell

91

4279

50.94

13/ 22

Dravid’s stats at No. 3 sorted by the score at which he came in to bat present some interesting numbers. He averaged only 38 when the first wicket fell with ten runs or fewer on the board, but on the 18 occasions when the first wicket fell at zero, he averaged 51.94, with three centuries and as many fifties. In fact, his highest Test score, 270, came when he came out to bat second ball, after Virender Sehwag had fallen to Shoaib Akhtar off the first ball of the innings in Rawalpindi. He also had plenty of success when he came in to bat fairly early, with the score between 11 and 20. The 148 at Headingley in 2002 came after the first wicket fell for 15, while the 217 that followed in the next Test, at The Oval, was scored after the first wicket fell at 18.

He obviously relished coming in to bat after the openers had given the team a solid start. On the 66 occasions when they added more than 50, Dravid averaged 62.41. Among his key knocks in such situations was the 233 in Adelaide in 2003 – that match-winning effort came after the openers had added 66.

Dravid at No. 3 by point-of-entry scores

Point of entry

Innings

Runs

Average

100s/ 50s

10 or below

66

2322

38.07

4/ 12

11 to 20

45

2482

60.54

7/ 9

21 to 50

42

1913

53.14

4/ 11

51 and above

66

3807

62.41

13/ 18

Staying through partnerships
Dravid’s ability to spend long periods at the crease meant bowlers had to invariably work hard to get his wicket. On an average, he played 123 balls per dismissal, which works out to 20.3 overs. Since the year of his debut, the only batsman who has faced 10,000-plus deliveries and has a higher rate of balls per dismissal is Jacques Kallis, who averages 125.55 balls per dismissal. They’re the only two batsmen with a balls-per-dismissal figure of more than 120. Further down the table below, Tendulkar and Kumar Sangakkara have similar numbers: both have higher averages than Dravid, but their higher scoring rates also mean they don’t play as many deliveries per dismissal.

Highest balls per dismissal in Tests since Jan 1996 (Qual: 10,000 balls faced)

Batsman

Innings

Not outs

Balls faced

Average

Strike rate

Balls per dismissal

Jacques Kallis

253

39

26,867

57.28

45.62

125.55

Rahul Dravid

286

32

31,258

52.31

42.51

123.06

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

221

33

21,365

48.79

42.93

113.64

Thilan Samaraweera

114

20

10,497

53.42

47.84

111.67

Steve Waugh

137

21

12,705

53.06

48.45

109.53

Gary Kirsten

143

14

13,841

47.19

43.98

107.29

Sachin Tendulkar

256

25

23,781

56.22

54.61

102.95

Kumar Sangakkara

179

12

17,191

55.97

54.37

102.94

Dravid’s ability to spend long periods at the crease obviously meant his contribution to the team was much more than just the runs he scored. His solidity at the top of the order allowed the other, more extravagant, strokeplayers in the Indian team to express themselves freely, knowing that Dravid would hold his end up for long periods without losing concentration.

The table below shows that when Dravid was at the crease, the team scored 32,039 runs (60 of those runs were in the Test between Australia and the ICC World XI, so 31,979 runs were scored by the Indian team). Given that the entire Indian team scored 89,668 runs, it means 35.6% of the total runs that India made in Tests involving Dravid were scored with him at the crease. The corresponding percentage for Tendulkar is 29.9, and 32.6 for Kallis. Dravid is also the only batsman to be involved in more than 700 partnerships; in fact, no other batsman has even touched 650 so far.

Every time Dravid walked out to bat, he was involved in, on an average, 2.58 partnerships. Among batsmen who’ve played at least 100 innings, only Shivnarine Chanderpaul has a higher partnerships-per-innings number (2.66). So, while Dravid scored heaps of runs himself, his batting style also meant many more runs were being scored from the other end while he was around, all of which helped the team’s cause.

Partnership runs for batsmen with 10,000-plus Test runs

Batsman

Partnerships

P’ship runs

100/ 50 stands

Batsman runs

Percentage

Rahul Dravid

738

32,039

88/ 126

13,288

41.47

Sachin Tendulkar

646

30,278

85/ 121

15,470

51.09

Ricky Ponting

496

26,703

85/ 110

13,200

49.43

Jacques Kallis

578

26,107

64/ 119

12,260

46.96

Allan Border

617

24,500

63/ 104

11,174

45.61

S Waugh

590

23,457

64/ 87

10,927

46.58

Brian Lara

508

21,495

62/ 84

11,953

55.61

Sunil Gavaskar

519

21,080

58/ 85

10,122

48.02

Mahela Jayawardene

420

20,635

63/ 78

10,086

48.88

Dravid has also been involved in more century stands than any other batsman: he finishes at 88, with two other current players about whom there has been plenty of retirement talk – Tendulkar and Ponting – on 85 each. Dravid is also the only batsman to have ten or more century stands with four others. And with Tendulkar, Dravid scored more partnership runs and century stands than any other pair, including openers: 6920 runs in 143 partnerships at 50.51, with 20 century stands.

Batsmen involved in most 100-plus stands in Tests

Batsman

Century stands

Partners with 10+ century stands

Rahul Dravid

88

Tendulkar (20), Laxman (12), Sehwag (10), Ganguly(10)

Ricky Ponting

85

Hayden (16), Langer (14)

Sachin Tendulkar

85

Dravid (20), Ganguly (12)

Jacques Kallis

64

de Villiers (12)

Steve Waugh

64

Allan Border

63

Mahela Jayawardene

63

Sangakkara (14), Samaraweera (10)

Brian Lara

62

Sarwan (12)

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

60

Sunil Gavaskar

58

Chauhan (11), Vengsarkar (10), M Amarnath (10)

Beyond the batsman
And if all those achievements as a batsman are not enough, Dravid was captain of the Indian Test team for 25 Tests, a period during which the team had an 8-6 win-loss record, and won series in West Indies and England. Among Indian captains who led in 20 or more Tests, only MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly have a better win-loss ratio.

Indian captains with best win-loss ratio (Qual: 20 Tests)

Captain

Tests

Win/Loss

Draw

W/L ratio

MS Dhoni

37

17/ 10

10

1.70

Sourav Ganguly

49

21/ 13

15

1.61

Rahul Dravid

25

8/ 6

11

1.33

Sunil Gavaskar

47

9/ 8

30

1.12

Mohammad Azharuddin

47

14/ 14

19

1.00

And on the field, he snaffled a record 210 catches, mostly in the slips. That was another aspect of the game where his immense powers of concentration stood him in good stead.

There’s plenty to like about Rahul Dravid’s Test career. The one aspect that’s disappointing, though, is his record against Australia and South Africa, arguably the two best bowling sides during his playing period. His poor final series in Australia meant his overall average against them dipped below 40 (38.67), while against South Africa he averaged only 33.83. Thus, in 54 Tests against those two teams, he averaged 36.75 with only four hundreds; in 27 Tests in those two countries, he averaged 36.53, with only two centuries. He never scored another Test hundred in South Africa after that 148 in Johannesburg in 1996-97, while the 233 in Adelaide remained his only Test hundred in Australia. Those, though, are minor blips in a career that largely stayed at an exceptionally high level through more than 15 years.


In just my previous post, I had written about Dravid’s career reaching towards its end. But I did not know that it will end so soon. Today Dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic cricket. Surely that is a big step taken, unfortunately this is what media pressure can do to you. But the loss will have to bared entirely by the team and his fans. Unfortunately, we will never see him play for India again. However, he will play in IPL this year, but surely the Great Indian Wall will be missed on the field.

Here is the complete article covering his retirement from the ESPNcricinfo site:

Rahul Dravid announincing his retirement

Rahul Dravid’s retirement from international cricket was announced at his home ground, the Chinnaswamy Stadium, in a function room filled with more than 200 people. Family, team-mates, friends, KSCA members, officials and journalists had gathered – as did fans watching a live broadcast on national television – to mark the end of a remarkable career and a “reassuring presence” in the Indian team. Dravid, the second-highest run-getter in the history of Test cricket, possibly the last of India’s classical Test batsmen, was a cricketer who successfully straddled the old school with the new age, becoming a pivotal figure in the growth of India’s Test team in the 21st century.

The press conference began on schedule and, within three-quarters of an hour, Dravid left the room and international cricket as he had walked in. Swift, smooth, business-like, and, on Friday, to the sound-and-light burst of camera flashbulbs. The significance of Friday’s announcement will be understood only six months down the line, when India play Test cricket for the first time in 16 years without the most reliable one-drop in their history.

The decision to retire was not sudden, he said; the period of contemplation had lasted over a year as he assessed his game series after series. The disappointment of the Australia tour had not given him any ‘eureka’ moment around his decision to leave the game. “I didn’t take the decision based on one series… these decisions are based on a lot of other things, it’s the culmination of a lot of things. I don’t think it’s based on what happened in the last series. For each one it comes differently, for me it’s come with a bit of contemplation, a bit of thought, with friends and family.”

On his return from Australia, Dravid spent a month, taking out the “emotion” from the overall result in order to “look at things dispassionately,” he said. At the end he said, “I came to this decision and when I came to it, I was very clear in my mind.” It had, he said, been easy as it was difficult, that he had known “deep down in his heart” that it was time for the “next generation of the young Indian cricketer” to take over.

It was tough to leave “the life I have lived for 16 years and, before that, five years of first class cricket. It [cricket] is all I have known all my grown life … it wasn’t a difficult decision for me because I just knew in my heart that the time was right, and I was very happy and comfortable in what I had achieved and what I had done. You just know deep down that it is time to move on and let the next generation take over.”

Dravid entered the function room straight into a scrum of photographers, looking almost apologetic at having caused such a fuss. He was dressed in his India blazer and seated on the podium next to BCCI president N Srinivasan and his former team-mate, captain and now KSCA president, Anil Kumble. The walls around him were lined with portraits of Karnataka’s Test players, in the front row of the audience were members of his family, team-mates and the cricket community of the city.

He began by reading out his statement, his voice steady as he listed the people who’d played a part in every stage of his career – coaches, selectors, trainers, physios, officials, team-mates, family, even the media. He ended with the Indian cricket fan. “The game is lucky to have you and I have been lucky to play before you… My approach to cricket has been reasonably simple: it was about giving everything to the team, it was about playing with dignity and it was about upholding the spirit of the game. I hope I have done some of that. I have failed at times, but I have never stopped trying. It is why I leave with sadness but also with pride.”

With the statement ended and applause breaking out, Dravid looked at his wife in the first row. There was both relief and calm on his face and something other than television lights reflecting in his eyes. After the contemplation and the deliberation, the conversations with people he trusted, it was over.

Dravid became the first of India’s senior-most cricketers – Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman being the others – to quit the game after a season of speculation surrounding their future. His decision follows a poor tour of Australia but he enjoyed a prolific run through 2011, scoring five centuries – including four in the Caribbean and England. However, he is set to captain Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming IPL season.

The biggest surprise of the afternoon, however – far more unexpected than even the finality of Dravid’s retirement – was to follow. It came from BCCI president N Srinivasan: a man famous for an undemonstrative, glacial public face made an emotional and heartfelt speech. He spoke extempore of an “irreplaceable” cricketer, his voice wavering more than once. Srinivasan recalled having watched Dravid “grow from the days he played club cricket in Chennai, from the Ranji Trophy days … to the time he captained India”. Dravid, he said, was an “ambassador for the sport, for the Indian team and for India”.

“None of us really want to see such great players go away, we like to think they are permanent,” Srinivasan said. “I think that deciding when to retire is possibly the hardest decision Rahul has ever faced. It is not easy to say adieu…”

Kumble called Dravid one of Karnataka’s “finest cricketing sons” and spoke of his “reassuring presence” for India in the dressing room and on the field. It was Kumble who got Dravid to eventually crack his first smile of the afternoon, when he said the KSCA would now “expect to see you often in the association wearing the administrative hat.” There were also a few tips on life after retirement, Kumble telling Dravid that apart from being busier “with exceptional demands made on your time, your ability to say no will be challenged like never before”.

Sitting in the audience was Dravid’s former team-mate Javagal Srinath, the current KSCA secretary, who had walked into the room before the event to check if the arrangements were in order. Dravid’s immediate future includes six weeks of the IPL and he offered no clues as to whether he would take up a post-retirement life as coach, administrator or commentator. “I truly believe that some time away from the game will be good for me, I’ve played the game for 20 years I’ve lived in a cocoon, in a surreal world, this world has been away from reality in some ways.” He did say though that because he loved routines, his return to the real world could include his new routines that involve dropping his sons off at school and shopping for groceries.

Among Dravid’s contemporaries, both Kumble and Sourav Ganguly retired just after Test matches and Dravid was asked whether he had not wanted to end his career that way, walking off a field of play. “Just to keep playing for the sake of playing just one Test match, I didn’t think was right.” He needed to play, “for the right reasons – to win Test matches for India. I’ve done that for 16 years and I feel the time was right, I’ve had a great run. I have given this some thought … at the end of the day when a player has to go, he knows he has to go and I didn’t feel the need to drag it on longer [in order to have a farewell Test].” Dravid was replying to questions in three of the four languages he speaks, taking particular pride in receiving special applause from the back of the room for working his way through a fairly long answer in Kannada.

Along with his wife, sons and brother, Dravid had walked onto the Chinnaswamy field for a short while just before he came in to speak to the media. The stadium was his finishing school before his graduation to Test cricket, and the adjacent NCA nets turned into a trusted training ground over the past decade where Dravid had always showed up early to work on his game.

Now retired, he will finally be free of the 7am gym and nets sessions. But what about the pure love of just batting? Of striking the ball with bat? Wouldn’t he want to steal into the nets just for a hit or two? Dravid paused for a moment, smiled and then said: “Probably in the quiet. I’ll come very late at night.”

On the day he left the international game, this became the perfect final image of Rahul Dravid. Not that of the obdurate competitor in the arclights of cricket’s ‘surreal’ centre. But of the “reassuring presence”, of the craftsman in the quiet of dusk, of the man who never stopped trying.

I am surely not the biggest fan of Rahul Dravid, but still he is definitely one of my favorite sportsmen. I found an article on yahoo, as a letter to Rahul from one of his fans like me and I found it so touching that I am putting it here on my site as a tribute to Rahul Dravid.

Dear Rahul,

This is not going to be easy. But I will try. One sentence at a time.

Congratulations. Is that appropriate? That’s what people at work say when someone quits. And, despite the anguish surrounding your decision, this is supposed to be a happy day. At least I would like to think of it that way.

I expected you to finish in Adelaide. The same Adelaide where, in 2003, you found gold at the end of the rainbow. The same Adelaide where another colossus, Adam Gilchrist, retired four years ago, his wife and children sitting among the press, his voice breaking towards the end of each sentence, tears trickling down his cheeks as the press conference wound down.

But the Chinnaswamy Stadium fits well. That’s where it all began. And that’s where it ends. Like Gilly, you leave with your family and former team-mates watching over your retirement announcement. And like him, you leave amid breaking voices and teary eyes. 

There is a constant temptation, especially when a cricketer retires, to draw comparisons. We live in a world that loves definitives. It frowns upon ambiguity. We want to determine your exact location in the pantheon. I will refrain from this. I am sure you are tired of being compared to other great Indian batsmen. And I am not about to bore you.

But I must tell you something that has bothered me for a long time. You are too conveniently slotted as a specialist batsman. I disagree. That’s too simplistic. For me, you are an allrounder – not in the way our limited imaginations defines an allrounder but in a broader, more sweeping, sense. 

I find it hard to think of a more versatile cricketer. You were one of our finest short leg fielders. You were, for the most part, a remarkable slip catcher. You have opened the innings, batted at No.3, batted at No.6 (from where you conjured up that 180 in Kolkata). I’m sure you have batted everywhere else.

You have kept wicket, offering an added dimension to the one-day side in two World Cups. You even scored 145 in one of those games. You captained both the Test and one-day teams. Sure things didn’t go according to plan but you were a superb on-field captain. More importantly you were India’s finest vice-captain, an aspect that is often conveniently forgotten. Jeez, you even took some wickets.

There’s something unique about this. In Indian cricket’s hall of fame, you can proudly share a table with Gavaskar and Tendulkar. But you can also share one with Kapil, Mankad and Ganguly – cricketers who excelled in more than one aspect of their game for an extended period of time.

The only people who will understand this are those who you played with. The only people who will begin to appreciate your value to the side are those who you propped up. Which is why it is not the least surprising when Tendulkar said yesterday, ‘There can be no cricketer like Rahul Dravid.’ Hell yeah. It’s too far-fetched.

Talking about Tendulkar, you know my best moment involving you two? Adelaide again. 2003 again. Damien Martyn c Dravid b Tendulkar 38. Ripping legbreak, spanking cut, screaming edge, lunging right hand, gotcha. That was magic. Pure magic. Swung the game. Ignited the series.

What else will I remember? Hmm. That shirt of yours immaculately tucked in. How did you manage to keep it tucked in every single time? I’ll remember the way you chased the ball to the boundary line, as if you were competing in a hundred-meter race. I’ll remember the intensity with which you studied the pitch before the game, like a geologist, scraping the surface with your palms, examining the grains of sand, gauging the direction of the breeze. You loved all these tiny details, didn’t you?

There is a general perception that you have not got the credit you deserve. I don’t know if that is accurate. I wonder if you feel that way. But just you wait. Wait for India to play a Test without you. Wait for the team to lose an early wicket, especially on a challenging pitch. You’ll hear a gazillion sighs, sighs filled with longing. India 8 for 1 and you sitting in his living room, sipping tea and watching TV. I’ll be surprised if you don’t palpably feel a nation’s collective yearning for a sunnier, glorious past.

But even that I may be able to somehow handle. What I won’t be able to come to terms with is not watching you bat. Over the years few things have given me as much joy as watching you construct an innings, hour upon hour, brick upon brick.

Here I must mention what the great American author, Edgar Allan Poe, once said about the importance of punctuation.

It does not seem to be known that, even where the sense is perfectly clear, a sentence may be deprived of half its force – its spirit – its point – by improper punctuation.

An innings of yours would be incomplete without the punctuation marks that you masterfully employed along the way: the focussed leaves, the immaculate dead-bats, the softening of the grip, the late strokeplay, the ducking, the weaving, the swaying, the head totally still, your eyes always on the ball, the focus, more focus, still more focus, even more focus.

There is no point watching an innings of yours stripped of all this. I’ve cursed all these TV producers who create highlight packages with fours, sixes, your raised bat after each fifty, a jump after a hundred, more fours, more sixes and done. Finished. Poof. That’s supposed to be a summation of your innings.

It’s the same with all these photographers who click away and the websites that use those photos to create galleries. None of them even begin to portray the painstaking manner in which you create these pearls. None of them can capture over after over of graft. There is nothing more exhilarating that being exhausted after watching you bat. But there is no technology that can capture that, no software that can simulate it.

So if my grandson were to ask me about your batting, I would be lost. The only way anyone can begin to understand your craft is by watching you bat through a whole day, by experiencing your pain. There are no short cuts.

There are a million links that pop up on YouTube when I type ‘Rahul Dravid’. All of them show you batting. None of them contain your essence. There is no Rahul Dravid in there.

That’s sad. But maybe that’s also a good thing. I was fortunate to be able to watch you bat. My grandson won’t be as lucky. He’s just going to be born at the wrong time. Let’s go with that. It’s much easier.

As I said, this is supposed to be a happy day. It’s the memories that matter. You’ve left us a world full of them.

So long, Rahul. Adios. Ciao. Auf Wiedersehen. Tata. Bye. Bye. Olleyadagali guru.

And thank you. It’s been a privilege.

Yours faithfully,

Sidvee


For the past couple of months what has happened down under in Australia has certainly raised this question amongst all the cricket experts, ex-cricketers, and to some extent amongst most of the Indians as well now. However this question has not just been hovering for Sachin, it has been even more gruelling on Dravid and Laxman two more legends of Indian cricket.

Two regretful overseas series in the past 6-7 months, in England in July last year and the one in Australia this January has certainly raised many questions in the big 3. Well certainly the 3 are the fag ends of their careers, but surely I feel they aren’t over as yet. Yes the age is against them, and that’s why probably with every batting failure the question gets bigger and bigger. I believe that players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Suresh Raina are the ones that are adding that extra pressure on these big 3, since they proved their worth in the ODI format and now are ready to play regularly at the Test level. Something that is not really possible till these big 3 fade away.
But if we see at their performances in the past matches I really do not feel that they played that badly. In England, Dravid was exceptional scoring runs at will and in a situation when the other batsmen were getting out cheaply. In Australia, Sachin started with a bang and only faded out towards the end of the test series. Well honestly this is not the first time they questions have been raised. Dravid was really under pressure in 2009-10, when even the likes Pujara were included into the side citing him as a replacement for Dravid in future. But, Dravid has survived backed up with decent performances, and some of them at such a level that he had to be recalled to the T-20 and ODI sides in England after a gap of almost 3 years. Then how can really be a bad series thereafter (that too, when all the innings were not failures) ask him to think of retirement.

Sachin too was under tremendous pressure in 2007 when he was struggling to score rums, to an extent a century getting out in the 90s on numerous occasions. I guess a similar situation has returned when the wait for his 100th century has extended over 10 months. But he came back from that slump with a bang and 2009 and 2010 were exceptional years for him, making him touch the heights nobody would have believed 4 years ago. So to write him out after a just one series is not a good idea I believe. Maybe the pressure of the 100th century is building on him and once that is of his back, he might just start scoring big runs at will again. But honestly this is for the first time I have seen Sachin being dropped/rested from the team when he is fit and available for selection, that maybe under the rotation policy but that certainly is a message.

Now talking about Laxman, yes he has had two bad overseas series but then he has always been the disaster management man for the past many years, bailing the team out of treacherous situations on numerous occasions. He has not had too many big scores in the past few matches, but he surely has been consistent. And he already out of limited over cricket, his survival in test matches would be critical for him, and in similar situation is Dravid as well.

Now with Ponting having announced his retirement from ODI cricket the pressure will be on Sachin to take a similar step and maybe Laxman and Dravid also think of hanging their boots. Now with Indian cricket team not playing any test matches in the coming 6-7 months would mean that would give enough time for Dravid and Laxman to think. But what that would also mean that they would be away from international cricket for that long. Also, with no overseas cricket for almost two years now means that Sachin would hardly play the ODI format, especially since he has been very selective in which ODI tournament he plays for the past couple of years. This surely looks like that there will be very chances of seeing him in the coloured clothing for the Indian team. And, with this giving ample opportunities for Raina, Kolhi, Sharma to cement their places in the team.

But still the question remains, whether the big 3 should retire. Definitely I believe it is always great to announce your retirement while playing then to dropped and then announce it from the sidelines. But then has that time come? Well only time will tell that I think.

The big 3: VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, and Rahul Dravid


Sehwag after scoring 200

Since Virender Sehwag emerged at the international scene he has always been called as the clone of Sachin Tendulkar, because of the many similarities in their batting styles. But today, probably he has proved this saying correct by doing what only Sachin has done it before, and not just doing it even bettering it. Yes, Sachin Tendulkar created history by becoming the first player ever to score a double hundred in a One Day International and now Virender Sehwag has become the second to do so and now after scoring 219 has the highest individual score in ODI cricket bettering Sachin’s 200 not out.

Now this is the fastest double hundred in ODI cricket, and now has also equaled the record of 25 fours in a single innings (incidentally Sachin is the other one who holds this record and he too had made this during his mammoth innings of 200 not out). Also, this is a great moment for him because he is captain the team in the series and this innings has led the team to a series victory. There was a lot of pressure on him regarding his form, but I guess now this innings has silenced all critics. But to be honest, I really don’t believe if the concept of being out of form really works on Sehwag. I think he just plays the same way every time, and sometimes he scores a zero and sometimes a double hundred or even at times a triple hundred. And yes honestly, the kind of player Sehwag is one can even expect a triple hundred from him in ODI cricket.

There was another comment which I read somewhere, that now Virender Sehwag has become the first human to score a double century in ODI cricket. By using the word human is not only something for Sehwag, but also is a great testimony for Sachin, since for every fan (which includes Sehwag as well) he is not a human but god. I remember after scoring the double century Sachin had said that it is just a record and can easily be eclipsed sometime. He also said that he would be very happy if an Indian can do that. Also when asked whom did he think can actually do that, the first name he mentioned was that of Sehwag’s. And now see all that has come true, it is like Sachin’s wish was Sehwag’s command. 

Sehwag after crossing 200 mark

But truly with this innings Sehwag has entered the record book in such a way that it would be very difficult to remove his name from the record books easily. Though, his style is best suited for the shorter format of the game Sehwag has excelled in test cricket more, scoring two triple centuries. And to certain extent has not really made his mark in the ODIs and Twenty20 cricket because of which he has come under a lot of criticism. But now he has silenced all the questioning mouths, and the way he has done it, I think only he could do it that way. But I just wish that just by looking at the bowling attack of West Indies Sehwag’s innings is looked down upon, as Sachin had scored it against the best bowing attack, South Africa. I am saying this because scoring 200 runs is not a joke, and once it scored the opposition bowling attack is inconsequential. Today was just Sehwag’s day, and proabbaly had it been South Africa or Australia also Sehwag would have scored a double hundred.

Also, apart from Sehwag, but majorly due to him India crossed the 400 run mark in ODIs for the fourth time which is again a record. The score of 400 has only been crossed 10 times till now of which India has crossed 4 times now, South Africa and Sri Lanka have done it twice and Australia and New Zealand have done it once. 
In the end I would like to wish Sehwag for his achievement and I hope that Sehwag’s fires big down under against the Australians, as his explosive batting would really be needed if India want to win in test matches and ODIs there.

Sehwag thanking the almighty after scoring 200


Amidst all the hype and expectations of Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th International ton, another Indian cricketing legend, Rahul Dravid surpassed a major milestone. A milestone, which only one player has achieved in the history of test cricket. That was crossing the 13000 runs mark in test matches, he became only the second batsman to do so, which is a memorable feat.

He had become the sixth batsman to reach the 10000 mark, the fifth to reach the 11000 mark, the third to reach the 12000 mark, and now has become the second player to reach the 13000 run mark. This proves why he is the backbone of the Indian cricket team, and why he has been given the nickname of “The Wall”.

Though unfortunately, he has always been under the shadow of another Sachin Tendulkar, and probably because of this his major feats have gone unnoticed. But certainly that cannot take anything away from this legend. Apart from the runs he has scored 36 test centuries and 62 test fifties. His number of centuries is only fourth in number behind Sachin’s 51, Kallis’s 40, and Ponting’s 39. His 62 test fifties is the second highest in number, both Sachin and Allan Border having scored a record 63 test fifties (if Sachin goes onto score a hundred in this match he would come down to a joint position with Dravid here). All these records have to be of a special player. Also, this year Rahul’s form has been exceptional, having scored over 1000 test runs in the calendar year. And this is his third occasion he has done so.

Dravid’s contribution to Indian cricket is legendary, and so in the end I would like to salute his contribution to Indian cricket and congratulate him on his recent milestone. Also I hope that he does cross many more and give us many more moments to cherish. 


Even as the world still waits for Sachin to complete a century of centuries, he manages to touch another huge milestone in test cricket. He has become the first batsman in the history of test cricket to cross 15000 international runs. Also, this is not the first time to cross the mark; he has also crossed the milestone in the One Day International format. For the matter of the fact he was the first batsman to reach the 12000, 13000, and 14000 run marks as well. If you see his ODI record he had become the first player to achieve the mark of 10000 runs and then also every subsequent 1000 runs, and now has over 18000 ODI runs. Overall he has crossed 33000 runs in international cricket which is a record in itself.

In test matches the player immediately behind Sachin is Rahul Dravid, who has scored 12859 runs, which means there is a difference of over 2000 runs between the two which is a massive difference.

All these records coupled with a record of 99 international hundreds, is something very special. And now he is batting on 33 as the day’s play ended. And if India needs to go onto win the match, the team would require Sachin to play a big innings, which means that maybe Sachin’s might not have to wait too long for the 100th century as well.

In the end I would like to congratulate Sachin for his new achievement, and hope that he would get many more in future. Also I would wish him best of luck for tomorrow and hope that he continues this great form, and not only wins the match for the team but also, hits the most awaited hundredth century.


The Champion Team - INDIA..

Winning the World Cup that not only every Indian player had seen, in fact it was the dream that every Indian had seen, and it is not a dream anymore but reality. Yes, India is now the World Champions. They defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets to win the final and the tournament.

What an effort this was, simply amazing. India in their last four matches beat every other world champion. They beat 2 time champion West Indies in their last league game, then 4 time champion Australia in the quarters, 92 winners Pakistan in the semis, and then the 96 winners in the finals. This world cup belonged to the subcontinent teams, as three teams finished in the top four, and two of them made it to the finals. This is the first time this has happened. In fact except for 1987, a subcontinent team has been in the world cup final since 1983.

Everyone before the tournament said that they wanted to win the cup for the special Sachin Tendulkar, and this was evident when after winning the players took Sachin on their shoulders for a victory lap. Everyone was emotional, right from Sachin to Sehwag to Harbhajan to Yuraj to Sreesanth as the tears of joy dripped from their eyes. But that was the moment these players, and even every Indian will never forget for their lives. On one side dreams were fulfilled, on the other side dreams broken. Muralidharan quit cricket on not that high as he would have loved to, and Jayawardhane’s century went in vain. This is the first time when a World Cup final centurion has ended on the losing side. 

With this win now MS Dhoni has become the only caption to have won almost every major tournament. He has taken India top of the ICC rankings in test matches, won the T20 world cup, the IPL, the champion’s league, and now the WORLD CUP.

Coming back to the match, it started with Sri Lanka batting first. The start that Indians got was fabulous, with Zaheer Khan bowling 3 maiden overs on the trot. But later Mahela Jayawardhane played an extra ordinary innings scoring a century and taking the total to a formidable 274. Yuvraj was once again the best bowler picking up 2 wickets. Zaheer bowled beautifully and picked up 2 wickets, but his figures were damaged in the last three overs when he gave 44 runs. Harbhajan Singh dismissed the dangerous Dilshan. Munaf was very economical, but the only disappointment in bowling was Sreesanth. Once again, he leaked runs in heaps. I really don’t know why he was included in the playing XI ahead of Ashwin. Overall the bowling was decent, but they way they leaked runs towards the end was horrifying. 275 looked a very tough target, especially when the pressure of chasing in the World Cup final. The best part of the day was the fielding of the team. They fielded like tigers, and stopped numerous runs. They way Yuvraj and Raina fielded was something beyond belief. Had it not been that standard of fielding and the opening spell of Zaheer the target to chase could have been way more than 300.

Nevertheless, India had to chase 275 to win, and all eyes were set on the explosive Sehwag and legend Sachin. And both disappointed, by getting out early as the score read 31 runs for the loss of 2 wickets. Really, I must say I had lost hope at that time. But it was then for gen..next, to step up and Gambhir played one of the finest innings under pressure. He eventually got out for 97, and missed on a very well deserved century. Kohli played a good knock of 35 runs. But it was Dhoni who played another great knock under pressure scoring an unbeaten 91 and Yuvraj finished the proceedings with an unbeaten 21. Must say, Dhoni was criticized all month long for his batting, and what a time he chose to rise to the occasion and silence all the critics. He won the man of the match for the effort, though I feel it should have been given to Gambhir. Yuvraj won the man of the tournament award, and then India picked up the trophy, to be crowned world champions.

But yes I would also like to mention the contribution of Indian coach Gary Kiersten here. He has been an inspiration, and has changed the belief of the side completely. Under him, the team has taken the no.1 spot in test matches, and now the World Cup. With this his tenure as a coach also ends, hopefully he will be back later to take the team to new heights.

This is probably the last world cup for Sachin Tendulkar, but I hope that the he plays in the next one as well (just being optimistic). Now with his biggest dream in his kitty, I hope he does not quit the game. The urge to win the World Cup made him perform better and better, I hope that after the win he should not quit and continue his game as his is in a dream form right now. I think he should not look to retire for at least the next two years if not till the next World Cup.

In the end all I can say is well done India and congratulations for the victory. Keep on going this way, 2015 is not far away.

To two LEGENDS - SACHIN & MURALIDHARAN


India beat arch rivals Pakistan yesterday, to get into the final match of the biggest tournament in cricket. Now they will face Sri Lanka in the World Cup final on Saturday.

I wanted to write this post immediately after the match ended yesterday, but probably as the match ended being an Indian cricket fanatic, I was on cloud nine. And it has taken me almost half a day to get back to normal and write the post. I went to have ice cream late night after the match with my family. And that is time I realized that I am not the only cricket crazy person over here. There are many more cricket crazy people around. There were hundreds of bike riders, riding away to glory, carrying Indian flags, and chanting “India..India”. My grandmother was really amazed seeing such type of behavior and enthusiasm all around. I guess this is what an India-Pakistan match does to the country. When the match started the country had got to a halt, and then as the match ended everyone burst out of their homes in a joyful mood. I later too joined my friends late after midnight to celebrate the Indian victory. Probably this is the day I will not forget for a long time. In fact now I have planned for a bigger celebration if India wins the world cup final.

Now coming back to the match, I won’t say it was a one sided affair. But yes India did manage to win it convincingly in the end defeating Pakistan by a comfortable 29 runs. Though Pakistan had their moments and built up the enthusiasm right till the end. It started great for India as Sehwag got away to a flier, but once he left, it was probably more of a struggle to score runs. Sachin got as many as 6 lives in the match (he was dropped 4 times, a stumping was missed and an LBW decision was turned over by the review system). I don’t think that Sachin would have got these many chances in his complete career as well. However, this opportunity also did not help him scoring his 100th international hundred. But definitely his 85 run knock was the crucial point in India’s win. Gambhir did start well, but I guess he got flown away in emotions and almost threw his wicket. And then Kohli was scratchy, and got out at what can be called as a crucial stage, especially because the very next ball Yuvraj was dismissed to an almost unplayable delivery. Dhoni again was not at his best, but did try hard to help India recover from the two quick jolts. On the other hand Raina played well towards the end, which again raises a question to my mind as why wasn’t he played in the earlier matches of the tournament. Anyways India managed to score 260 runs, though which was too less compared to what everyone felt especially after the start the team had got. The scores dipped from a probable 330 to 300 to 280 and finally ended 260.

Then started the second session where India had to restrict Pakistan to less than 260. It looked a herculean task, because Pakistan bat very deep in the order, and India’s bowling has been a problem in the world cup. But since the last two matches India’s bowling and fielding has been improving by the rate of knots.

And once again when the fans were feeling low, Indian team picked themselves to just another level. Every bowler raised his game to the occasion. Though Zaheer was the most expensive of the lot, but he bowled in the situations of the match when the Pakistani players were trying to score hard, and his two crucial wickets were very important. Same is the case with Nehra and Munaf. Well everyone was shocked with their inclusion in the game, but they justified it very well. Both of them bowled their skins out and probably this has been their best effort in the tournament, I one must say what a time to get this. Harbhajan Singh has been a disappointment in the tournament especially since he has not been able to pick up wickets that were expected of him, but in this match he almost turned the game in India’s favor by picking two wickets of the most dangerous batsman and at crucial times. And now the recent batsman turned all-rounder Yuvraj, played his part as well. He was a little expensive but picked two important top order wickets which allowed every other bowler to build the pressure.

With this win, India have kept their World Cup unbeaten record against Pakistan intact. I guess everyone was confident, rather over confident of India’s win seeing the past history. But now I have understood why everyone felt that. Though as Shahid Afridi had said before the match that Pakistan would not allow Sachin to get to the magic figure, and yes they succeeded in that, but the 85 runs that Sachin did score proved a little too costly for the Pakistan team.

ll in all this was a great team effort. But the job is not over yet, India will face Sri Lanka in the finals. Sri Lankan batsmen have been on fire especially their top order, and their bowling is nowhere close to being a weak one. So this match is not going to be a close one.

Well the stage is set for the grand finale. And everything is falling into place. The match is in Sachin’s home, Mumbai. And what a time this will be for him to get to his 100th international hundred. World Cup finals, in India, and to top it all in Mumbai, in front of home crowd on home ground. What else can anybody dream of? If this hundred can lead to the World Cup win, I guess that moment Sachin will remember all his life.

But the task is not easy. Sri Lanka is team because of whom India had to see the end of their World Cup campaigns in 1996 and 2007. I guess this is right to avenge those losses. The team has been doing well, but I somehow still believe that Pathan should come into the side, in place of Kohli. Though I was unhappy that Ashwin was dropped for the side, but Nehra’s and Munaf’s will only add to the selection headache. But that is a nice thing to have I believe.
In the end I would like to congratulate India for this memorable victory, and also wish them all the best for the big match on Saturday.


It is now going to be a dream Wednesday next. An India Pakistan semi final in a tournament like world cup, how much more can any cricket fan ask for. And that too followed by an India Australia quarter finals. Amazing….

Finally India has shown why it is a top contender to pick up the trophy this time. The beat the last 3 time world champions Australia comprehensively. I do not think anyone expected India to pick up their game to such a high level today. I knew that it was very much possible for India to defeat Australia, but they had to play their best cricket for that. And India did exactly that!
Suddenly, the Indian team has risen up to every ones expectations, and almost has silenced all the criticism that the team was receiving in the last couple of weeks.

R Ashwin- bowled very well...

Today the bowling was good, disciplined, except Munaf Patel. And yes Harbhajan Singh was good but disappointing because he expected to pick up wickets and probably dismiss the top middle order for India. But again he has gone wicket less which has been disappointing. Zaheer was very good again, as usual. Ashwin was brilliant too, now this really confuses me why wasn’t he played earlier. And not to forget Yuvraj, the all rounder was amazing. He was very good with the ball again picking up 2 crucial wickets.

He crossed 18000 run mark

Now with the bat, I must say India played really well chasing. Both Sachin and Sehwag gave a decent start. Though I expected Sehwag to score a few more, and more quickly. Sachin was brilliant till he was dismissed. He scored a very important 50, also surprising the 18000 run mark in one day internationals. Gautam Gambhir played a very good knock, scored a 50 but then could not continue.  Then came Virat Kohli who got decent start but just threw it away and then MS Dhoni also got out leaving India 5 wickets down with over 70 runs to get. And then when everyone was losing hope Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina scripted a victory that Indians will remember for a very long time to run. Both these players played as if there was no tomorrow. To play Raina today was a masterstroke I must say. He played very sensibly and got India home at the end. India has lost wickets in heaps earlier, and today I realized the difference. It was Suresh Raina. The team needed a player like him, as been has been a finisher for the team over the past few years.

And now a talk on Yuvraj Singh. He has been brilliant in the series so far. He has emerged as the all rounder that the team has needed. Today also he played a match winning knock. And the form that he has shown, especially when his place in the playing XI before the start of the tournament was also on doubt is something explicable.  And yes let me acknowledge the team for the last part as well, the fielding department. Today India fielded very well, something one does not see every day.

And yes in the end I would like to point out the effort of Australian captain Ricky Ponting. he played an amzing innings under pressure, but lost to the young Indian exuberance. And suddenly the team that had not lost a single match in the last 2 World Cups, has lost 2 consecutive matches and is out of the tournament. It must have heart breaking for Ponting as this edition could have made him the first captain to win 3 consecutive World Cups. 

Now the world will look forward to the high profile match on Wednesday, 30th March 2011. The game between arch rivals India and Pakistan. Surprisingly Pakistan has been very good in the tournament so far and defeating them will not be easy for India. Though if I look at the World Cup history I would be very relaxed, because Pakistan has never been able to defeat India in World Cups.  But will this record remain intact after next week, I hope that happens. But one can never say anything as cricket is very unpredictable and is know that records break every now and then. And if Pakistan manage their first ever win against India, it will be the ideal situation to do so.

Suresh Raina - India's masterstroke in the game..

Now coming to India’s strategy for the next match. I believe they should drop Munaf Patel, he has been given an extended run. Maybe Sreesanth can come back in his place. That would get some fire back into the opening attack. The other change can be getting Yusuf back in place of Virat Kohli. Now that can be very harsh on Virat, but with Yuvraj in top form he can come in at no. 4 followed by Dhoni. Then I do not believe Virat is of any use at no. 6 or 7. That is the place where Pathan can come handy and can be very dangerous towards the end of the innings. And yes Pathan can be handy with the ball as well, though I am not really sure if that would help against Pakistan who play spin bowling well. But anyways these decisions are to be taken by the management.

Hopefully India will play some great cricket in the next match and move into the finals very easily. And yes not to forget 2 matches (semi-final and finals) left, the stage is set for Sachin to score his 100th international hundred, and then score his 50th one day hundred in the finals. Amazing way for Sachin to fulfil the dream of picking up the World Cup trophy.

In the end I would wish India all the best for the next match. Hopefully India will win!


The first stage of the event is over, and the second stage will start in 2 days from now. Unlike the previous three editions, this time the tournament is going the tournament is going to have three knock stages, which are the quarters, semis and lastly the grand finale. The schedule for the quarterfinals is as below: 

Q-F MATCH DATE TEAMS VENUE
1 March 23, 2011 Pakistan v West Indies Dhaka
2 March 24, 2011 Australiav India Ahmedabad
3 March 25, 2011 South Africa v New Zealand Dhaka
4 March 26, 2011 Sri Lankav England Colombo

There are no surprises in the final eight teams that have come through. Although, Bangladesh did fight very hard to squeeze through, but could not make it in the end. Surprisingly, Australia has not topped its group; in fact it has ended the first stage at third position. And again surprisingly Pakistan has topped the group. No surprises on the other two teams in the group A to qualify. I had expected Sri Lanka to end second in the group, and New Zealand fourth or probably third, once they had defeated Pakistan, but it has not turned out that way in the end.

In group B, the matches have been very different than expected. However, there are no unexpected results there. The ranking I had thought initially has eventually happened, but the surprising thing is how it has happened. South Africa topped the group, India second, England third, followed by West Indies. However, I had given a chance to Bangladesh to make the cut; but unfortunately, they lost out on the net run rate.

Now if India can defeat Australia, it can well probably be an India-Pakistan, high profile semi-final clash. But India will have to defeat Australia; it looks very difficult, but possible. Hopefully that will happen.

In the end I would wish India all the best for the tournament ahead.


India defeat West Indies convincingly, and move through to the quarters. Though this is India’s first win against a big team in the group, but one has to also know that they have lost only one game in the tournament. Still why are questions being raised on the team?

Well the answer to this would be the fashion in which the wins have come. Against Bangladesh, India scored a mammoth 370 but still leaked over 280 runs. Next in line against England, India scored 338 runs, but still could not win the game; luckily they did not lose it. In the game against Ireland the bowlers again failed, except the part timer Yuvraj Singh, who saved the grace with his 5 wicket haul. Again while chasing India lost the top 4 wickets for less than 100 runs on the board. In the game against Netherlands finally the bowling did come good, but the top order batsman failed but yes the team managed to win. In the match against the South Africans, the top order fired, but the middle order failed, and the bowling also leaked runs, and lost the game in the last over. The worst part was India looks to reach 400 at one stage in that match, but failed to score 300 as well. In the match also the top order played well, while the middle and lower failed again. But the bowling was convincing today, and the team managed to win.

The weakness of the team cannot be really determined. Let me just summarize it over here:
Matches: 6
Won: 4
Lost: 1
Tied:1

  • Top order played well: 4/6 games
  • Middle and lower order played well: 2/6 games
  • Bowling was good: 2.5/6 games (0.5 because the bowling was not good against Ireland, but Yuvraj managed to save the grace)
  • India has batted first in 4 games, and has been all out in 3 of them, without completing the full quota. However, in each of these games there has at least been 1 centurion.
  • The worst part is in these three games, against England India have lost 7 wickets in the last 5 overs for just 33 runs. Against South Africa India lost 9 wickets in the last 11 overs for just 29 runs. And today India lost 7 wickets in the last 9 overs for just 50 runs. This is the worst part when the middle order has not only failed to capitalize on the start given by the top order, but has also thrown away many good chances.

But the main and the final thing is that India has made it to the top 8, and from here it will be a knock out stage. So they have to play really very well, if they want to have a chance of winning the world cup. And the kind of form India has shown so far, I definitely feel, India needs to buck up, if they want to win and go ahead.

In the end I would like to wish India all the best for its future matches. Hopefully they will not disappoint anymore.